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While Walmart and Kroger are still the No. 1 and No. 2 retailers in the United States, despite the nation’s recent economic woes, a new slate of companies are starting to come on strong, according to STORES Magazine’s annual ranking of retailers by sales. The operators on the list, which appears in the publication’s July issue, are ordered according to U.S. retail sales, rather than overall corporate revenues. Kantar Retail compiled and analyzed this year’s list, which was sponsored by Hypercom, JDA Software Group, Red Prairie and Tomax Retail.net.
Walmart’s value prices are still drawing budget-conscious shoppers, while Kroger’s wide reach now includes over 3,600 stores across the country, more than any other U.S. supermarket chain.
But discount and dollar stores made impressive advances on this year’s list, reflecting consumers’ increased emphasis on savings during the recession. Dollar General (No. 28) rose seven spots this year, having seen year-over-year revenue growth of 12.8 percent from 2009 to 2010, Family Dollar (No. 45) climbed from No. 56 in 2009, and Dollar Tree (No. 61) zoomed up 15 places.
“As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart’s U.S. sales are nearly four times larger than No. 2 Kroger, so it’s hard to imagine a list without Walmart at the top anytime in the foreseeable future,” said Mary Brett Whitfield, SVP at London-based Kantar Retail. “However, as IKEA’s debut [at No. 92] and the movement of the small-format value retailers indicates, there is still plenty of opportunity for the rest of the list to be reshaped as the retail landscape evolves.”
“Every economic downturn creates new opportunities for companies to put their best foot forward,” noted Susan Reda, editor, STORES Media. “What’s most notable however, is the fact that the majority of America’s biggest brands managed to hold on to their top spots on the list, even with consumer confidence and discretionary spending both taking a hit the last few years.”
As for the rest of the top 10, the “[t]ransformational changes” referred to by Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel are boosting traffic and sales at the company, which moved from last year’s No. 5 spot to No. 3 this year; Walgreens, which now can be found in all 50 states, also jumped two places, from No. 6 to No. 4; Home Depot and Costco inhabit the fifth and sixth places, respectively; and spots seven through 10 are the same as last year, providing evidence that the dismal economy couldn’t dislodge the trusted brands of CVS Caremark (No. 7), Lowe’s (No. 8), Sears Holdings (No. 9) and Best Buy (No. 10).
STORES is published by the Arlington, Va.-based National Retail Federation (NRF).